Our Ultimate Citizenship
Friday - February 11th
Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 2:11-22
You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household.
Our daughter, Katie, works for the Japanese Foreign Ministry in their Chicago Consulate. One of the benefits of working there is that she gets all the Japanese and U.S. national holidays. In Japan, if a working day falls between two public holidays, that working day becomes an additional holiday by law. That special day is known as a "Citizen's Holiday." While not a Japanese citizen, she benefits from this additional holiday!
Citizens of a country receive benefits that others do not. Paul calls us citizens of Heaven in several of his New Testament writings. In Ephesians 2:19, he said, "You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people." Without Christ, we are foreigners and strangers without any citizenship in Heaven. Once we come to Jesus, we are immediately given Heaven's full rights and privileges.
I am so proud to be a citizen of the United States. While no nation is perfect, we have been incredibly blessed. I would never consider changing my citizenship to another country. Over the years, I have had several friends who became naturalized citizens of the U.S. I love to chat with them about the swearing-in ceremony and the people who became citizens with them. The experience fills them with so much joy and pride that they struggle to express their feelings to others. I praise God for and pray daily for God to protect and bless the United States.
But, as incredible as our citizenship in the United States is, it pales in comparison to the joy of being a citizen now and forever of Heaven. Paul told the Philippian Church that "our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it, we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).
We must be careful not to let the fantastic citizenship we have here on earth be a bigger deal in our lives than our eternal citizenship with Christ in Heaven. No country on earth offers us what Christ provides to us. So, let's keep the perspective the writer of the Book of Hebrews kept. "Like a stranger in a foreign country. . . looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:9-10).
All the “Citizen Holidays” and other benefits offered by countries here on earth will never be better or provide great satisfaction for our lives today. Only as we live first and foremost as citizens of Heaven will we truly flourish as God’s children.
Let's embrace and cultivate our ultimate citizenship in Heaven rather than emphasize our limited citizenship here on earth!